We Are Maasai Women, And Riders too

 

Kajiado Central Women Milk Project

Kajiado April 12, 2011 – Many women put off their goal to learn to drive a motorcycle for years, and finally their dream dies, forgotten in the various worries and cares of life.

But today, we bring you desire and deterination of a women group in Masaai land to overcame their own mental obstacles to pursue their dream of learning to not only ride but also own a motorcycle.

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We Are Maasai Women, And Riders too

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Artists’ image of a rural African woman often depicts a female who is bent nearly double at the weight of a load on her back and at times with a baby strapped to her bosom.

While such a scenario may seem normal in an African setting, deep inside the women are usually crying out for help to ease this workload but no one seems to be listening.

When Maasai women in Kajiado Central district decided to sell some of the milk they get from their cows to improve their economic status, this meant carrying the milk on their backs for hawking in trading centres and towns in order to earn some income for their families.

For many years, the women have borne this heavy load on top of ferrying water, firewood and other heavy loads that come with the role of motherhood in this district.

To ease transportation, many mothers depend on donkeys and nearly every woman owns at least one donkey which she uses for transportation.

Recently the women in Kajiado central constituency established a milk project through which they are selling milk to the New KCC Ltd. Whereas KCC is collecting the milk daily from three collection points along the Kitengela – Namanga highway, ferrying the milk from their homes to the collection points has been a major challenge for them.

Some had to carry the milk on their backs, others turned to donkeys, while others hired motorbikes and vehicles for this work, a move that was eating into earnings from milk sales.

With assistance from the patron of the Kajiado Central milk project Mrs. Hellen Nkaissery who was instrumental in the establishment of the project, the women have entered into a deal with a transport company that is known as Bustani Kenya Ltd.

The company has taken over the responsibility of transporting milk from homes using three wheeler motorbikes to the collection centres from where it is collected by KCC for transportation to the company’s plant at Dandora in Nairobi.

A tripartite agreement between Bustani, the women milk project and New KCC Ltd has already been signed and Bustani is in the process of modifying the motorbikes to be able to cope with the rugged terrain that characterizes most parts of Kajiado central district.

The proprietor of Bustani Kenya Ltd Mr. Simon Omondi told this writer that he has already delivered seven three wheeler motorbikes to the women. He said that his company will train drivers and persons to provide repair and maintenance services of the motorbikes from within the community.

Apart from easing transportation, the project will also create employment for local youths who will be hired to drive and to repair the bikes.

During the two years contract, Bustani will be paid by KCC using some of the Kshs 3 per litre that the company deducts from the women. At the end of the two-year period, the exit plan for Bustani will entail selling the three wheelers to the women at a subsidized cost.

The women are happy with the three wheelers which they are not just using for milk transportation but will also assist them to transport other heavy loads such as food stuff from markets, water and firewood. This means that the women of Kajiado might just take a break from years of bearing heavy loads on their backs.

By Ngigi Kamau

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